As students move through college and into the world of work, they will be judged on their accomplishments. Therefore, every student who purposely builds a list of meaningful accomplishments will greatly increase their chances of achieving their goals. Employers and Graduate Schools expect to see accomplishments on a resume and are eager to discuss them during interviews. It is these accomplishments that help to differentiate one candidate from another.

Most students and employees view accomplishments in a favorable light because they can lead to recognition, respect, opportunities, promotions, money, prestige, fame, security and more. But, what exactly is an accomplishment?

Accomplishments generally fall into three categories:

Personal - These accomplishments generally benefit the student or employee alone.
(Getting an “A” on a test. Graduating from college. Arriving early to get a good
parking space. Learning something new. etc.)

For Organizations - Because of the accomplishment, the club, association, college,
employer or organization is better off. This accomplishment directly contributes
to the success of the organization.

For Other People - The accomplishment is selfless and benefits one or more other
people. This is especially appreciated when the accomplishment speaks well
of the person’s character and integrity.

What someone accomplishments for an organization and other people will almost always be viewed as more significant than accomplishments that benefit only themselves. However, it is important to recognize that an individual may very well benefit personally, as they pursue accomplishments that benefit other people and organizations. That is as it should be.

Importantly, it is not an individual’s hard work or sacrifice alone that will normally be recognized, celebrated and rewarded. Let’s make this clear. Hard work and sacrifice are not accomplishments. They are activities and behaviors that are expected and may lead to an accomplishment. A meaningful accomplishment is the positive end result that is achieved. That end result benefits people or organizations.

“An accomplishment is not what you do.
Rather, it is the result of what you do.”

We all know that there is a huge difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it. That’s why employers want to see examples of what you’ve been able to get done. Your accomplishments help employers to understand who you are and what you are becoming. Successful students and employees continually pursue and build their list of meaningful accomplishments.

“Effort, without results, rings hollow.”

As one might expect, accomplishments can vary greatly in their size and significance. Keep in mind that it may very well require a whole bunch of small accomplishments before the larger ones are achieved. Large, significant and meaningful accomplishments are usually built on a solid foundation of smaller accomplishments.

What does it take? Accomplishments usually involve hard work, personal sacrifice, risk taking, creativity, overcoming obstacles, leadership, communication and building relationships with influential people. That’s why it is so important for students to work on and develop these skills and abilities and then provide examples on their resumes.

What do they do? Accomplishments usually make something better, solve or prevent a problem, preserve resources, generate revenue or enable people and organizations to achieve their goals.

There are an unlimited number of opportunities to accomplish the things that students can put on their resumes. If a student has already decided on a direction to take in college, he/she can look for opportunities to generate accomplishments in their area of interest. If a direction is not yet clear, he/she can look for opportunities to build their knowledge and skills in any area that will show an employer or Grad School that they can lead or assist a campus activity, employer or community organization.

Understanding the definition of an accomplishment is good. However, performing the tasks and activities that will result in an accomplishment is better. It’s the results that count.

Visit Bob’s web site: Bob Roth is the author of The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College -and- The College Student’s Guide To Landing A Great Job.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Roth, a former campus recruiter, is the author of The College Student's Guide To Landing A Great Job -and- The 4 Realities Of Success During and After College. Known as The "College & Career Success” Coach, Bob also writes articles for more than 200 College Career Services Offices, Campus Newspapers, Parent Associations and Employment Web Sites. Additionally, Bob has developed 20 Self-Scoring Learning Tools that help college students find success. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs across the country and also by many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. Lastly, Bob has served as an Adjunct at Marist College, teaching a course in Career Development.